April > Be a Wise Healthcare Consumer

Be a Wise Healthcare Consumer

Take an Active Role in Managing Your Health Care

Making health care decisions can be complicated. The quality of care you receive can vary, too,depending on the capabilities of the provider and the facility you visit as well as on the seriousness of the condition and type of advice being offered. There can also be uncertainty about which services are covered. As a result, it can be difficult to figure out which are the best tests and treatments for you.

The more knowledgeable you are, the more prepared you will be to ask questions of your medical provider, understand recommendations, and weigh the pros and cons of different treatment options. In today’s world there is a huge amount of medical advice at your fingertips, more than you’ll ever have time to take in. It often seems like every possible illness, condition, and injury has been documented and discussed somewhere on the Internet.

But there’s a catch to having all of that information available. How do you know whether that advice is credible? Will it hurt more than help? Where do you go for more information?

A New Resource Provides Advice You Can Trust

Studies have shown that as much as 30 percent of health care services provided in the U.S. may be unnecessary and some could even be harmful to your health. The Choosing Wisely® campaign, which was launched recently with a goal of changing that statistic, provides a series of articles and tip sheets that focus on everything from coping with serious illness, to preventive care, to the "dos and don’ts" of common tests.

And the campaign provides information you can trust. Led by the ABIM (American Board of Internal Medicine) Foundation in partnership with Consumer Reports, participants in the initiative include dozens of national organizations representing medical specialists as well as consumer-focused organizations.

A primary goal of the campaign is to help patients and physicians have conversations to ensure the right care is delivered at the right time, because when you make the most of your doctor visits, you get better care and see better health results. The Choosing Wisely Toolkit provides the resources and information you need to prepare for your office visits and build a lasting relationship with your doctor that will lead to better health outcomes.

Be Informed and Interactive at Your Next Appointment

When you're aware of and informed about the care you're receiving, you're able to take a more active role. You can feel confident saying "Whoa!" to your doctor if you feel uncomfortable about a test. You understand how prescription medication works and know how/when to take "as directed" and what to do when you experience side effects.

For more information about how you can take an active role in managing your own health care, check the complete set of free reports from Choosing Wisely and other related projects.